Single by Bay City Rollers
from the album Rollin'
B-side"Are You Ready For That Rock & Roll"
ReleasedApril 1974
GenreGlam rock
Songwriter(s)Bill Martin, Phil Coulter
Producer(s)Bill Martin, Phil Coulter
Bay City Rollers singles chronology
"Remember (Sha-La-La-La)"
"Summerlove Sensation"

"Shang-a-Lang" is a song from the Bay City Rollers 1974 debut album Rollin' from which it was the second advance single, the track being produced by the song's writers Bill Martin and Phil Coulter.[1]

Background and chart success

Songwriter Bill Martin described "Shang-a-Lang" as an attempt to combine Brill Building songwriting - in particular the partly onomatopoeic lines of "Da Doo Ron Ron" - with the clanging sounds he'd long heard emanating from the shipyards in the Glasgow burgh of Govan where he'd been born and raised. (Bill Martin quote:)"I couldn't write clang clang because [of the well-known] Judy Garland [song lyric from] 'Trolley Song': 'Clang clang clang went the trolley'. So eventually I came up with: 'We sang shang-a-lang'".[2][3] Martin also recalled "shang-a-lang" as a minced oath he'd been wont to use when his mother was in earshot.[3] Martin's collaborator Phil Coulter created the track's clapping sound by hitting two pieces of wood together as he had in their 1970 writing success, "Back Home", by the England football team.[2]

"Shang-a-Lang" was Bay City Roller's fifth single release and their third to place in the UK charts, its tenure being ten weeks in the spring of 1974 with a peak of number 2 being held off from the number 1 position by another nostalgic track: "Sugar Baby Love" by The Rubettes. [4]

"Shang-a-Lang" would be the first Bay City Rollers single released in Canada where the group would soon become massively popular: however the original "Shang-a-Lang" was expediently covered by Montreal-based session group Tinker's Moon (de) whose version charted at #23 in Canada: the Tinker's Moon version also gave "Shang-a-Lang" what attention the song would receive in the US reaching number 111 on the Record World Singles Chart 101 - 150.[5]

The Rollers went on to use the title for their TV series, which began in April, 1975, and ran for twenty-one epiodes.


  1. ^ "Bay City Rollers — Shang-A-Lang". www.45cat.com. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b "The Bay City Rollers: how we made Shang-A-Lang". The Guardian. 23 September 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  3. ^ a b Spence, Simon (2016). When The Screaming Stops: the dark history of the Bay City Rollers. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1783059379.
  4. ^ "Shang-A-Lang". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  5. ^ Record World Vol 30 (1 August 1974) #1419 p. 30